A certification mill is an entity that:
A certification mill operates without supervision by any state or federal agency, or national accrediting agency, and grants certifications that are worthless (at best) or fraudulent (at worst) because of a lack of institutional standards.
Certification mills include schools, organizations, training companies, and associations that are more interested in taking your money than providing you with a quality education. They often require no technical courses, quizzes or exams in order to be listed on their professional search sites and maps that they present to unsuspecting consumers searching for such professionals.
The Better Business Bureau and InterNACHI® suggest that you watch for the following features and regard them as red flags when considering whether or not to enroll in a school or organization.
NOTE: Not all online home inspection schools and associations are certification mills. Do your homework and research the school or association that you're interested in attending.
Beware of institutions that offer certification credit based on work experience, such as performing home inspections in the past, with little or no documentation of prior learning. There are schools, associations, training companies, and organizations that certify home inspectors based primarily on how many home inspections the individual has performed. These institutions do not use valid methods for determining the amount of credit to be awarded. There are many employers, institutions, and licensing boards that will question the legitimacy of certifications earned this way, and will only recognize certifications earned from institutions accredited by an accrediting agency of the U.S. Department of Education.
An institution that may award credit for prior inspection experience should follow national standards set by the USDE.
Certification mills often claim accreditation by a fake accrediting agency to make them seem legitimate in order to attract more students to their certification programs. Because certification mills aren't accredited by a nationally recognized agency, you will not find the institution's accrediting agency on the U.S. Department of Education's list of Nationally Recognized Accrediting Agencies.
The fake accrediting agency is just for show; it offers its accreditation for a price without subjecting the school to any in-depth review of the educational content of its programs, certifications, or education courses. The fake accrediting agency will not review content, but only process. These accrediting agencies do not ensure that students will receive a quality education. Often, the fake accrediting agency has simply conducted a business deal with the institution without investigating it in any manner.
These fake accrediting agencies may adopt names that are similar to other well-known accrediting agencies, and sprinkle legitimate institutions in its list of accredited members. They may even use all the proper-sounding words in their marketing materials to describe their accrediting standards and review processes. In actuality, those accrediting standards and procedures are never put to use; thus, the accreditation is meaningless.
TIP: Do not allow these schools, entities, associations, training companies, and organizations to mislead you; always do your homework on any school you want to attend. In some states, it can be illegal to use a certification from an institution that is not accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency. Remember that it isn't enough to know that an institution is accredited; you need to find out as much as you can about the accrediting organization. Your efforts will be worth your time and energy... and your money.
Enroll in the Home Inspector Certificate Program.
The InterNACHI® School is the only home inspector college accredited by the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education & Training (ACCET), a national accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, to provide free, online education and a Home Inspector Certificate Program to InterNACHI® members.
To enroll in the Home Inspector Certificate Program provided by InterNACHI® School, visit www.nachi.org/home-inspector-certificate-program.